Archive for the Guest Blogs Category

Guest Post: Wastelands: Making Your World-Part 3

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , on November 12, 2009 by Jaym Gates

ENTRY 10: Making Your World: Part-3

Forgive the delay in guest blogs, but now I am finally back. Now, let’s get to business.

A world that has sentient beings is sure to have some form of society. It might be just starting, or could be in place and have been in place for centuries, but regardless of what it is, the chances of it being the only one in the world is slim to nill! Even if it is a lone faction, then there are going to be people in the faction who probably do not agree with the others. You can see it in US politics even if you’re looking for a real example! You have two sides of a nation and they don’t get along!

I digress from that though, because I have no intention to turn this into a rant about politics. So, let’s talk creating a faction. In all honesty, I think this is one of the easiest parts of the worldbuilding. Especially for anyone who has had a civics class where one of the things you had to do was make your own nation. It’s not going to be as easy as that, but you can clearly decide some of the history, and the terrain and area the faction calls home will influence some of the issues. A desert society will most likely have some different values then one that is founded in a mountainous area. I will admit some of the qualities will be the same, but an environment can have an impact on the population and their concerns.

The faction in question will face many trials with the environment that you’ve put it in, and in a fantasy context, this can come from something as simple as a dragon terrorizing the countryside. In more modern settings, you probably won’t have worries like that, but can still have things otherworldly and weird if you want, or you can have more mundane problems, like society not getting along with one another, conflict with another faction, it all really depends on what you think is best to create an interesting world.

Part of this that I think is also VERY important is to not force it all to come out how you visualize it. In my experience, most of the time it’s best to let the setting just go the way it wants to go. There is something to be said for moving it a long a little, mostly when just getting it started, but it’s like characters. You want them to be them. Not someone else, not someone who could be considered an author avatar, or *shudder-shudder* a Mary Sue.

And that’s really it. Your players will create characters to get involved in the events you come up with and it can grow from there! There’s a lot more, but you prolly don’t need my help with it. So, this ends the Worldbuilding section. Next time, expect a little history for Wastelands just to help break it all up!

-Havoc

Wastelands: Making Your World, Pt. 2

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , on October 9, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Apologies for the late post. Been busy!

Making Your World: Part-2

Alrighty! So, if you followed the last entry for this guest-blog, then you’ll have everything more or less in order. You have a world and a basic setting that you can go from! But what’s this? You need something to populate it! And I’m not talking about sentient beings, I’m talking creatures. Now, I’ve already done something like this on the FW Forum about creating unique creatures to populate your setting.

Obviously with an RP, you can more or less go to any of the numerous archives of mythological creatures and pick and choose, but at the same time, there’s something to be said for originality. If you’re gonna make creatures for the setting, then it’s time to do some research. Obviously, there’s a number of things that you could do, but first let me state this little disclaimer:

This is by no means a hard and fast guide to making and populating a fictional world with creatures! This is merely a method I have found to be quite successful. You do not have to do any of this if you want to populate a fictional setting with creatures, especially if you have your own method and that works for you.

Now then, with that out of the way… First thing you should consider if you’re creating wildlife for your setting is the environment. Look at real life. There are a lot of creatures that are perfectly adapted to their environments. So, why should fictional creatures not be this way too? You won’t see a big furry bear-like beast in the desert, nor would you see a skinny sleek lizard in the ice and snow! Ah… But remember, especially if you’re doing fantasy/sci-fi that you can make them whatever you want. However, make sure they fit. Using the lizard, if it lives in such a cold environment, how does it survive? How does it maintain a body temperature that keeps it from being just a lizard-shaped piece of ice? If it’s a kind of dragon, you have the possibility right there, especially if they breathe fire. The internal flame is what keeps them alive in such cold environments. Put some thought into these creatures so they fit.

Another possibility for these creatures is that they were actually made by some divine force or a sorcerer… Or even a company monkeying around in genetic engineering! This can help create a plot and even an adventure or story!

However, as was brought up in the debate about this, you do not want to push things too far. The creatures might play an important role, but do not go overboard listing everything! Sure, it might be fun and might come in handy later, especially if you need some bit of info in the story, but there is a fine line between interesting bits of information and writing a wikipedia entry on something. That brings me to another rant, but… I’m not gonna get into that about how wikipedia started out as intending to be a useful database and somehow evolved into a massive collection of pop-culture where there’s more information on the episodes of Star Trek then the American Civil War! That however is a tangent I don’t think we should get into. Hell, you could probably do an entire wikipedia entry on how wikipedia is… Wait! Wait… Tangent… Besides, the TV Tropes entry on wikipedia says exactly what I did it looks like…

So, that’s gonna do it for this entry. Next time we’ll talk about factions and sentient races!

Until then!

-Havoc

Wastelands: Making Your World: Part 1

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , on September 17, 2009 by Jaym Gates

ENTRY 8: Making Your World: Part-1

Whenever you start making a world for an RP, you have to think of, obviously, what kind of RP you want to play in. There are a lot of different kinds. Matter of fact, I’m quite confident that there are as many kinds of RP as there are genres and people because of the limitless factors of one’s imagination. However, just saying ‘I don’t care’ isn’t exactly the best idea. Sometimes I will admit that this can lead to some very fun and interesting RPs but, there are better ways to go about it and actually create something worthwhile and interesting.

The first thing you need to decide is if this RP is going to be based on anything. If it is something like a fan RP for something like a popular TV show or a movie or video game, then you already have most of your work done. The setting, characters, events and rules of that world are already in place. The important thing to remember with this sort of RP though is to make sure you follow those rules that the setting has already established. Sure, you can probably get away with bending them, especially if you’re in a group of friends, but sometimes you will run into people who follow things a little too close to the letter. These fans can make any RP like this a living hell because of how closely they want things to follow. I admit, there is a line that should be clear, but sometimes these kinds of individuals can make that line so thin that even a small mistake can ruin it.

If you’re just coming up with something on your own, then you can have a lot more free reign. This aspect too, potential players can jump in on if they are interested. The very first thing you should do is have vision. What kind of setting and story do you want your players to be in? Like I said above, the possibilities are only limited by imagination. This is really really basic, I know, but we all must crawl before we can run. And figuring out the basics can also really help in the long run. It’s a skeleton for you to build everything on.

The everything mentioned above is going to be what happens, the story of the setting! Given the more free-form aspects of forum-based RP, there is more for place for this sort of thing, since the events and everything aren’t set in stone, but players actively help create the world around them. Be sure to have at least enough that you can get started though. Sometimes the more you have the better it is, but remember: don’t go overboard. Your players will make some of their own stuff as it is. You can make more and more stuff for it if you want (like some of the developments for Wastelands goes, I make up some of the basics then the players fill in the details, or vise-versa depending on what’s going on) and the bigger your setting gets, the more you have to add to fill it. Yes, sometimes you don’t HAVE to, because of necessity, but in my experience, it’s always good to have a little extra then too little at all.

Join me next time when we have a creature feature! How to fill your world with flora and fauna that’s not only interesting, but believable! ~Havoc

Fifthwind Forums
Wastelands

Wastelands: A History of the Breed Empire, Pt. 3

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , on August 28, 2009 by Jaym Gates

A little late, but here’s the next installment of Wastelands lore!

PART 3: The Fall

Centuries passed, and the Scarab Family kept the Empire united and under a firm control. Much of the progress was through technology, quickly gaining the Empire the position as the most technologically advanced faction on the planet. Programs arose in the fields of space exploration, medicine, fusion and most important to the Empire, blending of magic and technology. This was what allowed the Empire to rise to power in the first place and their understanding of how to do this elevated them even further.

However, population started to become a problem. The size was getting harder and harder to control and keep track of, so The Emperor, Horatio Scarab III, deemed it was time to expand. This would be a full-scale invasion of Central and South America and come to be known as The Tartarus Campaign, due to the level of chaos that took place during it. Virtually every legion was sent into South America to deal with the resistance. What the Empire expected was for something like the Six Months War. An enemy that underestimated them and would fall quickly. What they were in for though was a three year war against an enemy that knew their land and used it to their advantage.

A benefit that the Empire gained though was through a new Supreme Lord Arbiter named Vradeus Gaump. As the new supreme commander of the Imperial Legions, he quickly turned things around late in the second year and by the end of 2426, South America was under the control of the Empire. Most of this was due to the success of Gaump’s tactics and beliefs for a military force. This lead to him writing a book known as The Griffin’s Tome, which detailed numerous tactics, beliefs and philosophical standings that had led the legions to victory.

The next move of The Empire though was more out of spite, due to the chaos the Tartarus Campaign had caused, though there have been scholars arguing about if The Emperor actually made the right choice or not. This was the decision to commit genocide. To utterly annihilate the humans, orcs trolls and elves in North and South America. This was a controversial objective, which soon caused many of the non-hybrids to start fighting back. The small resistance groups that had existed since the beginning found new blood and soon were committing acts of terrorism against their oppressors.

The final nails in the coffin came when the Emperor ordered the nuclear strike on Boston, combined with the revelation of the genetic degregation. In mere centuries, many hybrids now looked stuck between a human and animal shape, where their once ability to shift between a hybrid and human state was one of their greatest advantages. When information about the genetic problems came to light, Gaump made the choice to leave, due to the fact that there had been no results in over a hundred years. He made the information public, and with his departure, several of the Western provinces joined Gaump’s ideals that these facts were not reasonable for the Empire to work. A clash of ideals ruined the Empire and gave birth to a new power that directly opposed them known as The Garadal Republic.

Everything that the first Scarab had worked for and fought to preserve for his own people, was destroyed that day. The provinces of South America became city states while the East and West of North America turned on one another and war came to the Breed. Despite all their advancements and propaganda stating they were superior then the other races, they had fallen to the human side of their nature.

Next time we’ll be back to talking about worldbuilding and other RP elements that make their way into forum-based gaming. That’s all for now!

-Havoc

Wastelands: History of the Breed Empire pt. 1

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , on July 30, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Another great guest-column from Havoc about the Wastelands forum-based RPG!

ENTRY 5: A History of The Breed Empire-Part 1

We’ll be deviating from a bit of game stuff today to bring you a small piece of history from Wastelands. Namely, a multi-part series on the rise and breakup of The Breed Empire.

PART ONE: The Rebellion

The birth of a nation can be a very violent thing. In some cases it can be very smooth and quiet, but given the past history of humanity, it does not always come to pass. The Breed were no exception either. When Horatio Scarab the first vowed to show humanity their inhumanity through what they had created (IE: them) he planned and made sure that it would be an example that would carve a permanent mark in world history.

This mark is known as the Six Months War. Named as such for its length. The Breed call it ‘The Tyrant’s Fall’ and the end of it is regarded among the breed as a national holiday. During this time, the Breed had access to the massive funds of a genetics research and engineering company by the name of Gentech Engineering. With almost a billion in funds, and a long yet carefully thought out plan, Scarab and the hybrids infiltrated the American people over almost a century. There they appeared human, among real humans, orcs, trolls and elves and went unnoticed, until there had been enough to infiltrate aspects of the US government. Namely the higher echelons of the military. Once it had been done, the breed found access to the numerous minuteman missile silos all over the US. In 2115, when the world was in utter turmoil and the US was seen as one of only a few places where there was no conflict, the breed prepared for their strike. Predictably, the president of the time saw it as the duty of the US to make the world safe for democracy and deployed a large number of armed forces throughout the world. Most notably Europe to keep the peace, Africa to assist in aiding the defenders against the spider-centaurs known as arachnains, and China to aid in pushing back the naga.

At this time, the breed attacked, launching several of the missiles at key targets in the US to cripple their war machine and cut off the rest of the forces from the mainland. Despite the advanced technology and numbers, the breed were able to isolate and destroy the traces of resistance thanks to their planning and access to tried and true weapons. At the end of the conflict, the last of the US forces retreated to the West Coast. Scarab decided to show them a grand gesture that would be the end of United States. One that would also show the rest of the world just how far the breed were willing to go against their enemies. A massive nuclear bombardment. Using several minuteman missiles, the breed launched them along a single massive and coordinated strike against the West Coast, turning the entire region, from the southern reaches of California to the Washington/British Colombia border into a nuclear wasteland. Virtually nothing survived the assault and the background radiation is still present to this day.

With no clear power in the chaos, the breed, under Scarab formed an empire. They modeled themselves after the Romans as they identified with the conquering forces. They set about rebuilding and separating the normals from their own. The humans, orcs trolls and elves found themselves without a leader and forced into the ruins of the once glorious American cities. The few that hadn’t been ruined with conflict were claimed by the breed. Not all the normals went quietly though, and many to this day fight a guriella war against the Empire.

To combat this threat, two military forces were created. One for matters of the state and internal affairs, known as the Population Defense Force, or PDF. Forming a mix of national guard and police force, the PDF quickly earned a reputation for being brutal and straightforward.

The second has become synonymous with war in the Americas and are an example of the blending of animal instinct and human intellect and how powerful they are when working together. The Imperial Legions.

That is all for now folks! See you next time for the golden age of the empire!

-Havoc

Wastelands: Keeping It Going

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2009 by Jaym Gates

ENTRY 4: Keeping it Going

So, you’ve gotten a story idea for your new RP and think it’s really kickass. Great! Now, you got some interest going and people really wanna jump in and play it. That’s even better! You’ve gotten it started now and you’re going along for a few days, weeks, months however long and then interest starts to wane. Your players don’t post as much as they did when the thread first came around. You know they’re still around, but haven’t posted in a fair while. What’s wrong?

A number of things can do this, one of which is real-life. The influence of the outside world can really get in the way of posting (I speak from experience when I say this). They might still have the interest, but not the time.

The other thing that might happen is well within your control: the players have lost interest because it’s become a little dull or predictable or just slow. Something that CAN cause this is your own devotion to the story. If you came up with it, it’s your job to help keep it going and people interested! If someone doesn’t post for a while either, this can mean someone has lost interest. What’s a creator to do?

Well, a lesson I have learned from Wastelands is to definitely take into account what the players are saying. Talk to them outside the story and get their take on it. If they’re devoted fans of the setting you have created, this can become, like I have said many times, fertile ground for new Rps. If it has gotten stale and people haven’t posted in a while, see what they think should happen. It should be taken with a slight grain of salt, especially if the player is suggesting god-moding.

Which is another important topic I think we should cover right now. God-moding is a term used to describe a character that is unbelievably powerful, can do anything and has no faults. A gamemaster CAN use this to an extent though, if they are controlling one or two characters to steer the plot, provided they don’t overtake it. In Wastelands, this takes the appearance of some major characters in the setting. They have their stories (some of which are becoming novels) and for a time, they intersect with the RP that is going on. In one or two cases, the individuals who I use for steering the plot are also used to deal with the unruly players or god-moders. (It helps that the characters I use to deal with god-moders in the setting ARE for all intents and purposes actual deities). But, like I just said, a gamemaster who uses them needs to use them carefully.

Which brings me back to the original point. If a gamemaster carefully applies this, they can generate interest. Maybe one of these important characters in setting needs these peoples help for some reason or another? Maybe the players can investigate this character. If they are so powerful, then it’s logical to assume they could be a powerful ally, or deadly threat. Just remember that the RP is NOT about that character and you getting to play around like a god with them! Like any ‘meal’ this character is just a side to the main course of the player’s adventure.

Another way you can keep interest in your RP is by doing what I talked about last time too. Getting new blood involved. They can get involved and interested in a world others may have forgotten about. This can ultimately help bring it back.

Sometimes though, just a little nudge is all people need to get back into it. By this, you can try sending personal messages to the players to see how many are interested in it still and out of those who will continue. This is especially helpful with players who are sporadic in their postings, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. Something like this CAN (though I have never had this problem, I am sure it can be seen like this) be seen as a little pushy.

In all, the best thing to keep an RP going and the interest in it strong is to take a page from Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War. Keep the troops moving and morale high. They will be eager to fight and that momentum can help push them on towards victory. In the world of Forum RPGs, this can be interpreted as keeping the players motivated and intrigued in the gamemaster’s setting. Keeping the post count up and regular to keep it from getting stale and slow, and push through to the conclusion of the story, in which another can begin.

Join me next time when we’ll take a break from all this technical stuff and delve into some fiction of Wastelands!

WASTELANDS: Proving Grounds

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by Jaym Gates

ENTRY 3: The Proving Grounds: Helping new players into RPs

From Fifthwind Forums and The Wastelands.

One of the most important things I have learned in the course of running the wastelands threads is that it’s important to help the new players get into the game and keep it going. Keeping it going can be easy when you have a dedicated base, but it’s the new blood coming in that helps that greatly. New players bring new ideas and if you can work in those ideas, you can have an ever-expanding adventure!

Whenever someone is getting into something, not necessarily an RP thread, but anything, it’s usually a good idea to ask a lot of questions. Whenever a new player comes along for Wastelands, I encourage them to do so. This helps them get into the game and helps me build answers which help new players in return in the form of precedents.

When I first started, there were many questions. Most notably “what makes wastelands so different from a typical fantasy RPG?” The most obvious is setting. Like I said in the first entry in this guest-blog series, it avoids the typical sword-and-sorcery but it also is far grayer when it comes to the question of morality.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questions that an RPer will ask the organizer though. Some of them will be very practical involving time and posting. Whoever comes up with the idea for the RP is going to be responsible for all the story and work. But it’s helping new players get involved into the story. They already know all the ins and outs (or most of the time) of what the RP is about, so they are responsible for helping the uninitiated get into it.

It’s a fine line though. Enough depth will attract people, especially those who love a rich world to play in, but too much will overwhelm the player (a problem that I have had with Wastelands. It’s gotten so big it’s kinda daunting for some people!) with all the information and background. If there’s too little, then it comes across as either half-assed or not entirely thought through, which makes the world feel barren.

Of course, this all depends on how deep the RP is. The more plot and story you have in it, the harder the average person will have to adapt to it. Wastelands has been lucky that it’s on a forum inhabited by talented writers who are interested in the story. Not just some wild action adventure story (though it can be if a player wants). The number one thing to remember is that it’s the new blood that will help determine an RP’s success. If there is one thing the internet is very good for, it is word of mouth advertising. If new players enjoy the RP you have created word will spread. Just like this blog is spreading the words of my host, in addition to my own.

Anyways, to close this entry, here are some quick rules for RP makers to remember when dealing with new players:

1) BE PATIENT!!!: I cannot stress this enough! If you are patient and willing to listen and answer questions, then you will be well-remembered, not to mention you will get to know your players, which can help you tailor the adventure to suit the players. Besides, you were new to it too yourself at one time!

2) Create an FAQ or Primer: Something like this can save you a lot of headaches as it is more or less a quickstart guide for players to access. The primer should contain basic information about the RP, including links to important parts, or everything a player needs to get started. This should include:

a. Character Creation

b. Available Threads to play on

c. General RP Rules (Sometimes the organizer will have set out special rules that must be followed. I don’t usually, but just in case)

d. What to do in the event of grievances

3) Help new players with their posts: I admit this shouldn’t be something an organizer does too much, because A) the organizer can influence the plot this way (which I admit can be useful if the players have gotten off-track) and B) it doesn’t improve a player’s posts in the longrun. However, helping a new player with their posts to get the feel of the world and even just help them with grammar and just basic writing skills.

4) BE OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS FOR THE STORY!!!: Again, another point I cannot stress enough, especially for the OCD in an organizer. You can try and predict the actions of a player, but you’re better off having a rough goal and path in mind that you can easily change depending on what’s going on. For example, your players may decide to go north instead of east. One thing I have found with new players is they are usually enthusiastic for the story and game, and that can be fertile ground for ideas!

And that’s it for now! For the next feature I’ll talk about keeping an interest going in an RP.

Happy wanderings!

-Havoc

WASTELANDS: State of Affairs pt. 2

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , on June 18, 2009 by Jaym Gates

NORTH AMERICA: Once a world power, the United States of America found itself in dire straights in the early 21st century. Its reputation tarnished by presidents who sought to police the world and make it ‘safe for democracy’. However, a few presidents genuinely worked hard to repair the image, but a sinister threat brewed right under the surface.

The company Gentech Engineering had once been a European company that had moved to the states around 2007, among them were experiments created during the Cold War in an attempt to create a human/animal hybrid that would be a soldier in a post-nuclear conflict. The Cold War ended though before the hybrids reached maturity, and one in particular united those who hadn’t escaped or died in a gambit to show the world who they were. His name was Scarab, and he was part human and part scarab, as his name suggested. In a bold move in early 2008, he and the other hybrids of the company enacted a bloody coup, killing the partners and CEO to take over the company. For the century it would be run covertly by Scarab and his fellow hybrids as they spread their numbers through the shadows and all aspects of America life.

In 2115, when the world was in chaos, Scarab deemed the time to strike was then. By that time, thousands of hybrids existed and they had infiltrated several aspects of the US government. With much of the military overseas and scattered throughout the world in an attempt to keep the peace, many facilities were left unguarded, and the hybrids found access to the nuclear arsenal of minuteman missiles scattered throughout the US. A war began that lasted a mere six months and ended with the fall of the United States of America. The Six Months War was known to the hybrids as “The Tyrant’s Fall” and has been ever since. Scarab declared himself Emperor and ruled for several years before his son took over. The hybrids called themselves The Breed, and thus The Breed Empire was born.

More recently, the Empire has broken up by the actions of the Imperial Family, creating two major forces in North America: The original empire on the Eastern Seaboard and part of North America, and The Garadal Republic on the West Coast. Between them the center of the continent has become a massive wasteland, in the middle of a drought that has thus far lasted 75 years. Humans, orcs, trolls and elves are forced to fend for themselves in this harsh environment where water is more valuable then gold.

SOUTH AMERICA: Very little changed in this part of the world during the time that the Breed took over North America. Only around 2425 does the empire take notice of the continent and launch a campaign into bringing it under the control of The Breed Empire. Known as the Tartarus Campaign, newly promoted Supreme Lord Arbiter of the Imperial Legions, Vradeus Gaump led the legions to victory, conquering the continent in short order thanks to his tactics and beliefs the likes of which have not been seen since Sun-Tzu. His text, “The Griffin’s Tome” virtually overnight becomes the most important piece of Imperial Military literature not long after, detailing tactics, military affairs and philosophy, much like Sun-Tzu’s text millennia before.

However, all is not well as many new provinces start to question the Imperial rule. In early 2428, there is the rebellion and birth of the Garadal Republic up north. As a result, the provinces of South America secede from the Empire and each forms its own city state. Since then, they have been fighting amongst themselves, one trying to prove the one worthy of leading them against the Emperor.

More recently though, it has become an area of interest to any Breed, due to rumored sightings of none other then the original Scarab. A figure who had longed believed died and passed into Breed Mythology as ruler of their gods.

EUROPE: The years have not been kind to Europe, especially in the early 21st century. The European Union fell apart in 2057 and the continent fell into a state of warfare. The nations bickered with one another until warfare ripped the continent apart. Three wars over the course of the next several centuries caused much animosity among the populace. Finally though, there was a glimmer of hope with an old idea made new; a union of the nations of Europe under a single banner. The New European Union was formed not long before The Vradka’Dervi laid siege to the continent and has for almost 100 years now been fighting to keep them at bay.

However, all is not well in the NEU. Trouble with states and constant warfare have forced the NEU to take desperate measures to keeping order as one of the last bastions of civilization against the demons in Europe. Attempting to help keep order are the Knights Templar, survivors of when the demons overran Rome who have vowed to drive the demons back into their realms. Unlike the ancient order of Knights Templar though, these ones are many faiths under a single banner with a united objective to purge the demons from all lands in the earth that are holy.

AUSTRALIA: Very little has happened in Australia since contact with the outside world was cut off. Government eroded and the rich of the country gained power, eventually buying up most of it and dividing the region into city states. As of the current date in setting, these are tense times for the Australian city states and the possibility of war might begin with the creation of nuclear weapons on the continent.

ANTARCTICA AND NORTH POLE: On the freezing roof of the world, only the dead can truly be comfortable, and as a result, it is home to the undead known as the Necroplic Elves. A Necroplic is an elf who has been reanimated using a special process in necromancy, allowing them to function virtually in the same ways as if they were alive. Ruled by a Lich King, currently one Vrencus Nightstalker, they have deemed the living a nessicary casualty in their war against the demonic. Without the living souls provided, the demons will be unable to survive in the reality that anyone individually does. And when there is no life left, nature will be allowed to take its course as long frozen bacteria will be released into the world for the process to start anew… With the undead elves watching over the planet to ensure the demonic never return.

Join me next time when I will discuss the importance of helping new players adapt to this (and any) forum-based role-playing game! ~Havoc

WASTELANDS: State of Affairs pt. 1

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2009 by Jaym Gates

WASTELANDS: STATE OF AFFAIRS

Given how big the setting is and how there is so much, it can be quite daunting for a new player to get involved, which is one reason why I have the background section and an open door policy with newcomers. If they have questions, they are encouraged to ask and I am happy to help them get into it.

However, that is for another time (quite possibly next time) as this entry is devoted to the world of the wastelands and the current state it is in by continent:

ASIA: Millennia ago, long before the rise of mammals, a snake-like race existed. We call them the naga. Their kind came about during the age of the dinosaurs. The snake-men were able to learn and use a primal energy that flowed through the earth, the energy that would come to be known as magic. As time passed, they learned of a great cataclysm that would nearly cleanse the earth of life, so they hid from the world, using magic to put themselves into stasis and thus survived the mass extinction.

When the ancient Chinese Empire came about, naga were still in existence, but as humanity spread, they discriminated against the ancient beings. In 2115, they had enough, after having been forced into the jungles of India, and took back China and most of the surrounding area. They owned the land long before any human, orc, troll or elf existed, and once more they did, forming an alliance with another ancient species from Africa.

To the West and upper north of China, there are the demonic wastelands. What was once the Fertile Crescent has become a massive scar on the earth from a detonation of magical energy the likes of which the world has never seen before, in 2009. In an unearthed Sumerian city, humanity first discovered the wonders and the horrors of magic. This city was where demons first walked the earth.

One man is credited with seeing the threat and uniting the city states against the demons. Mythology calls him Gilgamesh. His journeys took him through the world and a chapter of his epic talks of one of his deeds, slaying a great demon known as Humbaba. Once the demon was slain, the doorways the misguided city had opened were closed and the entire city was dismantled. Its citizens scattered and any texts and tablets that detailed the opening of these dark portals to the demonic realms were destroyed in hopes that no living being would ever open the door to that hellish place ever again. As time passed, his story changed with each telling until it evolved to what most people are familiar with today.

One Horus Blacksun, an elven demonologist known for his contempt of all things non-elven, had shown great interest in the region and sought out this city that should have remained buried for the benefit of all in the world. It is he who is believed responsible for the release of the demon known as The Vradka’Dervi, The Soul-Drinker and how the demonic now infest the area, much of Northern Asia and almost all of Europe.

AFRICA: When Egypt first started building their great pyramids, another race in Africa began to grow in power. Half-spider and half human, they became known as the arachnians. However, in their misguided attempts to understand, the humans of Egypt thought them beasts and caused the race much grief. The arachnians would soon be reclassified as beasts until 2115…

Africa saw a time of prosperity in the early 21st century with massive amounts of humanitarian aid coming from the UN and North America, ending much of the civil unrest on the continent. This great time of prosperity lead to a virtual unification of all the African countries, culminating in a new world power. But in 2115 the arachnians had other plans, having built their forces in the jungles and savannas. Under a single banner, they began their campaign to take back the continent. The defenders found themselves under a relentless assault. The arachnians poured into major population centers all over the continent, burying the defenders under thousands of bodies.

By the time of Wastelands, the continent is virtually under the complete control of the arachnians, their united tribes having formed an alliance with the naga of Asia, determined to eradicate the last group of humans, orcs, trolls and elves in Africa, in the south.

~Havoc

Wastelands: Day 1

Posted in Guest Blogs, Uncategorized, Wastelands with tags , , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Radical technology. Ancient myths come to life. Orcs and hand grenades (and there’s a combination that scares me!). Politics, religion, philosophy and moral debate.

What do these things have in common? Well, it’s all stuff you’ll find in a typical day in Wastelands, the official role-playing game of Fifthwind Forums. Started several years ago by a couple of the original members of the forum, Wastelands quickly grew and sprawled from one adventure into multiples, each set in a different city or territory of America.

Big, intricate, rewarding and challenging, Wastelands is a pet project to the forum now, and has been a fitting introduction to forum-based role-playing for many people now.

Havoc, the Grand Master of Wastelands has graciously agreed to write a guest spot on this blog, a bi-weekly exploration of the world, history, technology and people of Wastelands. He invites you to take a look at Wastelands, and just maybe, grab some cool weapon and jump right on in.

ENTRY 1:
WASTELANDS: A WORLD IN CHAOS

When it comes to fantasy, the only real limit is one’s imagination. Usually when someone mentions fantasy fiction, the number one thing that comes to mind is amazing worlds. Ones that harkens back to the middle ages intertwined with magic and chivalry. Least, that’s what came to mind for me for a good long while.

That changed when I started asking what if an ungodly amount of times. What if magic had always existed? What if these races we see in fantasy lived alongside us in the real world? What if human understanding of magic and science were blended in a desperate arms race during a time when the threat of nuclear war loomed over the planet? This is where it began for the Wastelands setting. Just an attempt to try something that I haven’t seen done a lot with the fantasy genre: put it into a modern and contemporary setting. This wouldn’t last long though, as the questions kept pouring in about what would happen next and so on and so forth. Elements of a new mythology started to show up that linked all those around the world, into something that appeared to be a common source. One that ultimately balanced around the constant battle of chaos versus order, not to mention the balance that must be kept between them.

Wastelands is what happens when this balance is thrown to the extreme end of chaos. The order of things break down and you are left with a world in turmoil. Make that a fantasy world and throw in the advancements that science has produced and you have a very different setting from your run of the mill high fantasy world (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

The history of wastelands can be summed up simply enough, but it’s detail is what takes it to a different level. It’s the world as we know it with all the typical fantasy elements thrown in. There are humans, orcs, trolls and elves as the four main sentient races in the setting, each one not united by race, but nationality just like you or me. There are Welsh Orcs, American Elves, Spanish Trolls, Canadian Humans and just any other mix of those as you could imagine! Magic flows through the world and even plays a part in modern life.

Now, fast forward hundreds of years. Hundreds of events have happened that have thrown the world into turmoil. Some small that have snowballed. Like the creation of human/animal hybrids as part of an arms race between free Europe and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Originally just a small number of hybrids that were in the employ of their companies after the projects were cut due to funding, have now become their own races. One of which has moved to the Americas and completely taken over, forming an Empire. Another vanishing from the world and becoming the things of ghost stories. All around the world things are changing. And the four races I mentioned above. Humans, orcs trolls and elves, all have to think what would this world be like without them around anymore.

That’s really the simplest it can get. It grows so much from there with the players in the world taking charge and participating in world-changing events. Ones that either push the last remnants of civilization as we know it back into the light or shove it away. However, saying this is at all simple is like saying quantum physics and chaos theory is simple.

Our world is painted in shades of grey, so why not a fictional one? The Wastelands world has its own heroes and villains, but the only faction in the entire setting you could truly call evil are those belonging to the demons. Over ten different factions, all of which have their own goals that most of the time conflict with others in the world, and thus there is conflict. Out of a number of (still growing) factions in the world, there is only one that can truly be evil, because that faction is a reflection of all the hate and evil in the hearts of all living things. That immediately smashes a common archetype of ‘good vs evil’ that appears in most fantasy fiction.

However, let’s not forget this is a role-playing setting for a forum. And as such, the creativity of those involved as players in this game are what make these events hold so much sway, not to mention allows them to add to this massive world with their own ideas. Just like the internet itself! We share ideas and communicate through it, building something amazing. Thus, Wastelands is an example of how a community of role-players can come together and create something bigger then themselves, and help create an amazing world where their actions actually have consequence.

So, I guess that’ll about sum it up for this installment of the Wastelands section. Next time I’ll give a rundown of the current world and its situation. Until then!~Havoc